Friday, September 21, 2018

Channel Islands

We stayed nicely hunkered down for 2 nights while the winds blew 30 - 35kts through the anchorage at Santa Rosa.  They would die down overnight only to start building in the afternoon.  We had a nice hike ashore, but after 2 days, we had had enough and decided to start heading to Santa Cruz Island.

After about 3 more days tooling around the island, we met some nice folks also heading down to Mexico who I'm sure we'll see more of down the way.  We checked in with Greg's dad who was interested in a Catalina trip with us and we arranged for 3 nights of reciprocal at the Pacific Mariners YC in Marina del Rey - so we decided to start making our way further south.

About 30 minutes after pulling out of yellow bluff anchorage, the high water alarm went off....Glad for the test that we can hear it clearly in the cockpit.  Also, glad we quickly saw a stream of water which led us to learn that a hose had popped off of our hot water heater and we pumped about half of our port freshwater tank into the bilge. But it was a few serious minutes on Pura Vida while we located the source.  Whew - YAY, for already heading into a dock to refill tanks.  And Greg (and I) was glad to learn when the high water alarm goes off, a focused calm comes over me, not an internal freakout.

After that bit of drama, the wind slowly filled into the best spinnaker ride we can remember.   Flatwater, broad reach, 15 kts - OMG, so good.  As we headed into Paradise Cove for a night at anchor for us to learn another valuable lesson.  If we think we might need the flopper stopper, we should put it up before going to bed.  Getting up around midnight to set it up while fighting seasickness is just not preferred.

By now we are at a Friday and we head to Marina Del Rey to squeeze into their guest dock.

We don't look out of place at all..... HAHA

The club was super friendly and welcoming, all volunteer run.  Reminded me of BYC in a lot of ways.

Marina del Rey - lives up to the reputation....There was a powerboat on the dock behind us who decided to have a party on Saturday.  There were maybe 4 guys and about 20 girls all in bikinis - and high volume dance music going.  I did think of that song "I'm on a Boat", in a contradictions sort of way as I was walking up the ramp with my dirty laundry while young girls were dancing down the ramp holding liters of vodka over their heads.

They ended up joining forces with another sailboat and did a lap around the marina and out the breakwater a bit.  Above is a photo we snapped of them coming back into the marina.  we were on another boat chore - dingying to West Marine.

Fortunately, the music didn't go on into the night and we were able to have a nice dinner and spend some time with Rick and Clewie....

I was so happy to hold this little girl again.  And also happy she didn't bark and me, was well adjusted to life with Rick, but still happy to see us and the boat. It was a fabulous reunion.  I'm looking forward to the next one.

So after the weekend of refilling our tanks, We headed to another night to visit the King Harbor Yacht club, then anchor at San Pedro and pick up Greg's dad.

Here's a photo as we left Pura Vida for her first night at anchor by herself while we slept at Len and Carol's.

Today we're finished up our second night at Catalina and heading back to LA today. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

A whale of a day

Recap of last night..... both tired, ready for the rolicking to stop, me still getting used to overnight passages again and Greg just plain tired from being the superman sailor I'm glad he is at times like this.  A sliver of a moon not due to start rising until the 5am hour, we creep into our chosen anchorage on Santa Rosa Island using radar overlay on our charts and me on the bow with a strong flashlight.

3am, finally we are able to relax.  But our bodies are still amped up from the adrenaline of the past couple of days.  It's been quite the ride and just what we were looking for to get us to Southern California.

Backing up to Half Moon Bay, we had been waiting for wind to start blowing, topped up fuel and water, when finally Thursday morning our departure window opened up.

While motorsailing out some distance from shore, Greg commented, "bring on the whales" in anticipation of seeing these beautiful beasts.  By noon we were with full sail sailing wing and wing down the coast, stretching our distance from shore.  Off in the distance, a spout - followed by another, to be followed over the next few hours with breaching, tail flukes, back shots surrounding our little home from every side.  Our best was a half breech of an adult humpback whale a mere 4 boat lengths away.

As the day grew on, the wind picked up (nothing over 25kts) and seas got a little messy - in the new formation of waves kinda way.  We settled in for our first significant night passage since cruising 11 years ago.

It was rough, but I know will get easier.  During the afternoon the speedo stayed around 7 to 9 knots. The second time we hit 11+ knots peaks, we knew it was time to make those sails smaller. We spent most of the night zooming along at 7 kts with a single reefed main. As the next day started, we would pole out the genoa when the wind eased to keep us in the 6-8 kts boat speed range.

The next day brought more mature seas with the same reliable wind speed, and my mind relaxed as we headed south with favorable wind forecasts.  Though my mind was relaxing, we were super tired from the lack of good sleep, but pressed on to avoid higher winds forecasted over the coming days.  Pt Sur was behind us, and Pt Conception was to come.

Toward the end of the day, we had our first visitor, a booby bird - I didn't even know they lived this far north.

He tried out a couple of perch spots, finally "landing" with the paddleboard.  He preened and recovered all night even staying with us as we raised the main, lowered the main at the anchorage (Very loud banging) and got ourselves anchored and settled with full spreader lights and walking just past him back and forth.

He was almost like having a little pet for a few hours - we loved the company, even came with some poop cleaning duties today.

So the night crept on with us feeling like our now 6-7 kts was very very slow....  but eventually, we did finally cross the shipping channel at Santa Barbara, the night crept on.  It's amazing how slowly a boat can seem to move at times.

Greg had researched Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa, which was wide open, we have 4G radar which we can overlay our chart, so we felt confident in entering this first time to us Bay.  As I mentioned earlier, it was pitch dark, no outline of land, no lights besides our running lights and stars in the sky, and we sleepily continued on pumped up on adrenaline.

As we entered the Bay, I spotted on the bow with a bright flashlight looking for Kelp.  We measured depth to determine how far in to go, finally, we reached our target depth and dropped the anchor.  No drama, everything went smooth and our little booby friend just sat there with us, watching.  Probably ready and happy to be settling down.  These birds are so trusting.

Then that was it, we collapsed with thoughts of imagining the beautiful scene we would wake to.

Today, we'll do some hiking, and start exploring the channel islands for a couple weeks.  We got super lucky with some surprising internet, but no guarantees for that at other anchorages.  We're looking forward to getting our fishing game started - wish us luck....

Melissa and Greg

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Waiting for wind

Our first real day of our new life.  I woke, we both did a few hours of work - then boat projects.  Still doesn't feel real, but I remember from 11 years ago when we took off that it took about 2-3 months before I got used to the cruising life.

We had a great trip down.  We were waved off of the dock by Jackie, Kim,Lisa and Dean and in our rush and readiness to get going, we promptly forgot to give a last hug goodbye to Greg's Mom Jackie....  But for the record, we did hug them right when they arrived for our sendoff, about 15 minutes earlier.

San Francisco saw us off with a nice one tack close reach to about Alcatraz, then we motorsailed out the Gate in the Southerlyish lightish winds till just before the first channel marker where we made our BIG LEFT, rolled out the genoa and turned off the engine.

NICE...  not cold, but overcast.... and lumpy seas (that part wasn't so nice...)

After a few hours, the wind started lightning up, and the seas continued to be messy (from heavier winds further out).  So, we rolled in the genoa and motored the rest of the way to Half Moon Bay.

We anchored on our own with Lisa And Chuck rafted up.  With all the hub bub, we weren't up for dealing with multiple anchored boats.

SO the next couple of days we spent with good friends palling around Half Moon Bay, hiking, exploring and hanging out enjoying each other's company.

Yesterday, the rest of the BYC cruisers headed back to San Francisco and Kim our sister came down for a Goodbye recap.  We scored another Black Cod (sablefish) for dinner.  We had one the previous night with our friend Bunnie aboard - which if you haven't had one..... OMG highly recommend you do yourself a favor and google about this yummy fish.... melt-in-your-mouth-like-butter.....

We've been watching the weather and things are looking very light out there at the moment.  So - our plan now is to leave Thursday afternoon for a wee hour arrival Fri night/Sat morning at the Channel Islands.  Neither of us is interested in bobbing around in light wind, or spending money motoring in calm.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wake up Wake up Wake up - Clewie update

Roger who is an active 1 year old aussie....  waits not so patiently for Clewie to recharge her batteries.  Yep, after hours of wrestling, she does just want to chill and take a nap.

Wake up Already.......

But this was hours after this.....  continuously and some serious long range sprinting in the yard.

wrestle mania

Wednesday, August 22, 2018






 Yep, it's really true - storage shed is emptied out.  All of our personal belongings are on the boat and will be cruising with us.  Such a great feeling not having to worry about stuff we don't use.  We will be keeping a car and a bike to help us transport ourselves next summer to employment - Many many thanks to our sister for that......

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2 weeks and counting

This is why we chose a hard top bimini.  Greg giving the solar panels a good washing and enjoying standing atop the Bimini.

Already we can tell we are really going to love the bimini.  Having that hard roof above in addition to the super solid feel of the rails around the cockpit, really adds to Pura Vida.

We've been plugging away at projects and will hopefully be finished our must do before the end of August. 

we did get a chancea few weekends ago to go sailing on our old boat - or technically Greg's old boat.  He lived on it when we met just shy of 19 years ago.

One of our active projects is our wind generator.....  We had a vibration since it was installed and upon further investigation, we discovered a bent shaft.  After E marine didn't really take us seriously, we contacted the maker and they are seeming like they are arranging a plan that will let up actually get started cruising with a wind generator.  So, fingers crossed....

**edit: the maker did take care of the issue - returned the original unit and sent us a replacement - which doesn't have a wobble and is quieter.

Finally, need to follow up with this girl......  gosh I miss her... but I know she's happy with Rick.  And once we get cruising, there are going to be many days where her fun to suck ratio would be much lower with us on the boat.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wrapping things up.

ok, 3 weeks to go till we are sailing under that Golden Gate for possibly the last time.  Hoping for clearer weather than the above photo from another trip on our previous boat, Pacifica.

I'm wrapping things up at work - they are letting me work part-time while cruising and then full time again next summer while we fatten up the cruising kitty.  SO, a few little details to sort out.

Just heard from the yard that Pura Vida is cleared to go with a shiny new timing belt and water pump, along with new bottom paint.  By the time this goes out, she will hopefully be back in her Berkeley slip waiting for some romping.  Poor girl hasn't had any fun sailing outings all year - but come September, that's all it'll be about - she'll be living her calling.

Also, as if our final projects weren't enough (though we are not by any means going to be finished our list when we leave), as I was in the City picking up Greg from work last Friday night, a Limo backed into me.... so add to our "must do" list is a trip to the car repair shop - which is where Evie is right now and I'm driving a rental.

Unfortunately, the limo driver who backed into me thinks just giving me his insurance info and telling me he is very sorry is enough.  He's refusing to speak to even his own insurance company.  SO, we might be on the hook for the deductible because being parked with the engine off while a limo backs into you isn't enough for it not to be my fault and responsibility.

Good Grief......

Can't change that we leave in 3 weeks!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Clewie update July

So, For those of our friends and family who love hearing about Clewie, I want to share how she is doing.  Because although she is no longer living with me.... she is totally a part of me.    She has a new home and is well taken care of, and I will ALWAYS lover her.  Part of the reason of being super stoked that Rick wanted to adopt her from us was that I didn't really want to let her go from my life.  Because the last thing I really wanted was to let go of her.  Now, I have a ClewieCam, and almost daily updates.  All very feely and complicated - anyway...

She is totally Over us.....  and now really into swimming...  Loves hanging with all of Rick's house guests that come to visit regularly... And she has a best friend.....  an Australian Shepard named Roger.  BFFs FOREVER......

Here she is swimming with Roger:

Mostly she spends her mornings lounging around the yard, she has a large yard around the house with lots of space.  Sometimes she'll have visitors, sometimes not.  Usually, the afternoon will bring some sort of adventure - mostly these days a play date with Roger.  Then evenings are spent relaxing on the couch with her dad.  Some training of tricks happens.. she's learning new things.  But all the time, she gets to be with Rick.

And Greg and I cannot say enough how happy we are at how much he adores her.  She truly is treasured as I think every doggie should be.

I'll leave with a video of Clewie and Roger wrestling:

Saturday, July 28, 2018

the REAL Bimini Post

We're installing the bimini this week.  It's a custom hard top made by Atlantic Towers.  Thanks to a couple neighbors (Richard and John) we got the bimini in place, then with Greg's ingenuity, we got some halyards/lines to hold it up while we see where we want to install all the permanent parts.

Now were's drilling, which means lots of trips up to the cockpit and down below, and to the hardware store.  But it'll get done - I'm already thinking about the shade sides I'm going to make so that I can be all comfy in the sun in Mexico.

The supports are aluminum, so they are bigger diameter than a stainless frame.  This is already giving us a better sense of security in our cockpit.

Let me sign off with a picture of the truck delivering it to us:

Is that crazy or what?  This was the end point for them - they ended up backing the truck all the way out the way they came in - to University Ave.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Bimini and Arch

Nothing like completely changing your boat's profile.....  and doing this right before taking off cruising... how in the heck am I supposed to get our boat cards done?

We literally don't have a photo of her and probably won't till we get cruising.  (the projects list is CRAZY).

So what am I doing, I'm using pictures of us and our bright/can't-miss it dinghy set up for boat cards.  Our engine, named Buzz (for now) is painted as a bumble bee.....  and it buzzes when it runs... so its name is BUZZ.... get it ;-)

OK, that's our engine, and our chaps have a bright orange nose on the bow.... let's just say, I think it's distinctive.

wow, this post took a veer...

edit: we nixed this for our boat cards and went with regular pics of us  But that's Buzz.....  and his awesome dinghy chaps that Greg made himself - sewing project #2 for him.....

Saturday, July 21, 2018

About 2 months to go......Solar cooking

Things are starting to feel real.  The bimini is installed, we're starting to get all the things on our list that a few months ago, we decided to wait because we had plenty of time.  The above is my latest addition.  Twelve years ago when we took a year off for cruising south, I really disliked being in the galley when it was hot, but did want to prepare good food.  This go around we decided to try out a solar cooker.  We like this one alot for the rigidness and the foldability - All Seasons Solar Cooker.  I can just take those bolts off and fold her right up and stash her down below.  Already figured out a longer storage folding and a daysail folding routine.

So we got it last week and it went on my agenda this weekend to start playing with it.  Day one, within 30 minutes, it was clear that it really does work.  Yes, I need to remember about the no evaporation, so use less liquid.  But yep, I can see longer slow cooker type meals, to casseroles, even to reheating leftovers (yes, it's that easy). 

It's not something I would use while sailing.  But at anchor - yes, definitely. For setting it, I can safely say, I can set it up for a good 3 hours undisturbed cooking time.....  at that point, a check in to make sure the sun is in cooking range (done with a little sundial that lives on top). 

I cooked rice on Sat - done in an hour, but complete mush because I didn't measure my water.  Sunday, I cooked a pot of beans.  It stayed in the cooker for about 6 hours and I needed to relocate (move a few inches) the cooker once due to shade from our furled main.  

I expect with use, I'll get better, but for the first weekend, I was super comfortable with it by Sunday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Future plans.....

OK, I've remained super quiet about our plans to make things easier at my job.....  but now that Summer is approaching, I'm free to share away. 

There was no keeping any secrets from our dock neighbors though...  After a few big purchases and boat-jobs, we quickly started getting questions of: So, do you guys have anything planned?"  from those we didn't previously share with.

So, here we are at this writing 3 months away from departure.  Our cruising plans: Spend the next couple of years cruising in Mexico and returning to the Bay Area in the Summer to work.  After a couple seasons in Mexico, we plan to head south to Central America, then loosely over the next years and however long we enjoy, the South Pacific interests us, as does Indonesia and Thailand.  Beyond that - you'll have to check in here to see what we are thinking.

Our plans are to take off with the BYC Labor day cruise to Half Moon Bay.  From there we'll wait for a good weather window for San Miguel in the Northern Channel Island chain.  This is about a 2-3 night sail.  Arrival is best in calm weather for exploring the island.

From there, we'll spend a good chunk of time exploring the Channel Islands.  Every other time we've been here it's been with a dog, so we are looking forward to taking advantage of not having a doggie aboard to explore.  Somewhere around the Oct 1 timeframe we'll head to San Diego and work on some projects that are on our list before we head out of the area of easy access to parts.  We'll be anchored out - so look for us if you are in the area to say HI.

Somewhere around Nov.1 - or maybe sooner, we'll head South into Mexico.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Where's Clewie

So, you might be wondering where my furkid Clewie went.....    It's time I explain and make it internet official.  She is now living and being the furkid of my brother in law, Rick.  Though, to his dismay, she'll always be my furkid... but not in the expense or decision-making kind.  I'm joking, I think (or choose to think) he loves sharing his life with Clewie with someone else who loves hearing about little normal daily antics as he enjoys experiencing.

The story: Greg and I were on the fence about bringing Clewie cruising.....  we know we could have technically.  But also can't deny it would be easier without her and we could freely go more places and do more things.  (Islands/countries that don't allow dogs).

We also are well aware that she wouldn't adjust to the random dog/chicken/horse/monkey/iguana/etc calmly enjoying a space with us.  Also, she is a great dog, as in really sweet and great!
She loves people and adores hanging and loving her pack.  So - we were going back and forth, and back and forth.....

Then one day in December, Rick told us he was ready to get a dog.  And having known Clewie and Tack from family gatherings and vacations, he wanted a pitbull.  Well, this put a new spin on things.. so we brought him into our plans.  And he said,  "HECK YEAH!  I WOULD FLIPPIN LOVE TO CARE AND LOVE CLEWIE!"

SO, fast forward a couple of months and lots of questions, expectation setting later, we brought her to Southern California for a trial run with Rick.    It wasn't too long before Rick revoked her return policy and she was settling in as a Southern California dog.....

I'm not going to drag this down in getting into how hard it is/was for Greg and I .... but it's so much easier knowing that she is still in the family, and also how much Rick loves her.  She really is the center of his life now.   And he got us a Clewiecam so we can watch her whenever we want and she's outside (no camera in the house).  And he frequently texts us photos and updates......  We feel super lucky.

OH, we'll visit her again everytime we pass through - so looking forward to that.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Spiffing Up

Pura Vida has been getting spiffed up.  I've been silent in large part because we are consumed with projects.....

She has a Stern arch now sporting 3 solar panels and a wind generator.  You might notice that she is missing the main part of a sailboat (her mast).  It's currently back on and her rigging and chainplates have all been replaced.  That was a tough one.....  it was the price of a small new car. - or I should say more than the price.  The painful part of that 1/2 rigging wire that looks so sturdy.

There's also a new fun Kayak instead of the small blue one.

There have been more updates below: soundproofing for the engine, the suite of Mantus products for our anchoring security and comfort, high water alarm, and probably many more that I've forgotten.

But she's worth it - we love her more than ever - 10 years after purchasing her.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Instagram page

This little girl has a new Instagram page......  check out @clewiethewhippetpit to see her adventures.